|Publication number||US4528855 A|
|Application number||US 06/626,804|
|Publication date||Jul 16, 1985|
|Filing date||Jul 2, 1984|
|Priority date||Jul 2, 1984|
|Also published as||CA1234299A, CA1234299A1|
|Publication number||06626804, 626804, US 4528855 A, US 4528855A, US-A-4528855, US4528855 A, US4528855A|
|Original Assignee||Itt Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (106), Classifications (12), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates to integrated circuit pressure transducers, and more particularly to an integral differential and static pressure transducer.
In accordance with the present invention, an integral differential and static pressure transducer is comprised of a semiconductor chip having a central disk diaphragm and a concentric annular diaphragm etched from one side, and piezoresistive elements diffused in the unetched surface, some oriented along one crystallographic direction of the chip, and others oriented along another crystallographic direction, with four elements on each diaphragm connected in a separate Wheatstone bridge, with two selected from those in one crystallographic direction, and two selected from those in the other crystallographic direction so that adjacent sides of a Wheatstone bridge will be subjected to different piezoresistive effects in response to bending forces on the diaphragms. The four elements are thus used in the Wheatstone bridge in an arrangement that places those elements parallel to each other on the diaphragm opposite to each other in the bridge circuit for increased sensitivity of the bridge circuit to pressure bending the diaphragm.
The semiconductor chip thus etched is bonded to a nonconductive plate to form a hermetically sealed annular cavity under the annular diaphragm and cylindrical cavity under the disk diaphragm. An orifice is provided in the plate to provide a fluid pressure passage into the cylindrical cavity. A tube connects the orifice to a source of fluid at one pressure while the entire unetched surface of the chip is subjected to the fluid at a second pressure. In that manner, the piezoresistive Wheatstone bridge on the annular diaphragm provides a sensitive measurement of static pressure while the piezoresistive Wheatstone bridge on the disk diaphragm provides a sensitive measurement of differential pressure.
A single semiconductor chip may be provided with a plurality of separate differential pressure transducers, each with a different radius for the disk diaphragm. Each differential pressure transducer may thus be provided for optimum operation over a separate differential pressure range. A switching means is also provided on the semiconductor chip, using standard integrated circuit technology, to enable the output of a selected bridge to be read out for a differential pressure measurement over a selected range.
The novel features of the invention are set forth with particularlity in the appended claims. The invention will best be understood from the following description when read in conjunction with the drawings.
FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing an example of how the present invention is to be used.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a transducer having a single differential pressure (DP) diaphragm and a single static pressure (SP) diaphragm, each diaphragm with redundant piezoresistive (PZR) elements for Wheatstone bridge circuits.
FIG. 3 is a cross section of the transducer taken on line 3--3 in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a schematic plan view of a semiconductor chip having a plurality of DP diaphragms of different dimensions selected for operation over different differential pressure ranges, and one set of DP and SP diaphragms, in a single chip with an integrated circuit means (MUX) for selecting the DP diaphragm to read out for a selected differential pressure range.
FIG. 5 illustrates schematically the Wheatstone bridge connections in the semiconductor chip of FIG. 4.
FIG. 1 is a functional block diagram illustrating the manner in which the novel transducer to be described may be used for flow rate measurements in a pipeline 10 having an orifice plate 11, and a temperature transducer 12. An integral differential and static pressure transducer 14 is provided with passageways 15 and 16 for the fluid in the respective high and low sides of the orifice plate. As will be noted more explicitly hereinafter, the transducer 14 is in fact a single semiconductor chip with a plurality of piezoresistive Wheatstone bridge transducers, for both static and differential pressure measurements of a number of differential pressure ranges selected by a utilization means 17, such as a recording microprocessor, using a switching means or multiplexer (MUX) incorporated in the integrated circuit on the chip. Consequently, the transducer 14 includes not only a static pressure (SP) and a plurality of differential pressure (DP) bridge circuits, but also an integrated circuit for selectively reading out the DP bridge circuits for the desired differential pressure ranges. This will enable the user to select one transducer for a wide range of DP measurements.
The respective differential and static pressure output signals, DP and SP, from the transducer 14 are proportional to the differential pressure across the orifice plate 11 and the downstream static pressure, respectively. A square root extractor 18 receives the signal DP and provides a flow rate signal Qa equal to the square root of DP times a constant. A multiplier 19 and square root extractor 20 receive the signals DP and SP, and provide a flow rate signal Qb equal to the square root of the product of DP and SP times a constant Cb. The product of DP and SP from the multiplier 19 is also applied to a divider 21 which receives a temperature signal from the temperature transducer 12, adds to it an offset signal equal to 460 in the scale of the temperature signal, and divides the product of DP and SP by 460+F before extracting the square root of the quotient times a constant Cc in an extractor 22 to provide a third flow rate measurement signal Qc, which is a temperature compensated measurement of the flow rate Q.sub. b. A multiplexer 24 controlled by the utilization means selects which flow rate measurement, Qa, Qb or Qc, is to be recorded and/or displayed.
The integral differential and static pressure transducer 14 will now be described with reference to FIG. 2. It is comprised of semiconductor chip 25, such as a silicon chip having a 100 plane surface. Etched from the back of the chip is a central disk diaphragm 26 shown by a solid line circle 27, and an annular diaphragm 28 shown by solid line circles 29 and 30. A dashed line circle 31 merely represents the center of the annular diaphragm to emphasize that piezoresistive (PZR) elements are to be produced on the surface of the annular diaphragm on both sides of that center line, eight parallel to the 110 crystallogrpahic direction and eight parallel to the 110 crystallographic direction in such a way that groups of four elements appear at each optimum position which are, starting from the top, at 90° and 270° for PZR elements parallel to the 110 crystallographic direction and at 180° and 360° for PZR elements parallel to the 110 crystallographic direction. The stress reverses direction, i.e., goes from compression to tension, or vice versa depending on the side to which the pressure to be measured is applied.
Although only four PZR elements are required for a bridge, it is seen that as many as sixteen can be spaced on the annular diaphragm 28, and eight on the central disk diaphragm 26. This redundancy allows selection of four elements for a bridge on each diaphragm that are most closely matched for each bridge at the time of making connection to contacts provided on the chip for each element just off the diaphragm.
These PZR elements are produced by conventional integrated circuit technology used to make resistors in an integrated circuit, such as diffusing boron into the silicon chip in the area of the element, and then providing a nitride passivation layer over the entire surface, except over terminals, before vapor depositing conductive metal connections between elements, and from the bridges to output terminals. Analysis of a diaphragm with these PZR elements shows that the stress or strain produced by pressure acting on the surface sufficient to cause bending will result in a change in resistance proportional to the pressure over a range limited by the dimension over which the diaphragm bends.
The interaction between electrical and mechanical stress-strain variables in a semiconductor, such as silicon, will be different along the 110 and 110 crystallographic diections. This is used to advantage in arranging the PZR elements as described above, and then selecting four to connect in a Wheatstone bridge, two selected from those arranged in one direction opposite each other in the bridge and the remaining two selected from those arranged in the other crystallographic direction for greater sensitivity of the bridge.
Normally, only one element in a Wheatstone bridge is variable. When a voltage pulse is applied across two corners, a current is produced across the other two corners proportional to the extent to which the bridge is unbalanced by any change in the variable element. If two variable elements connected to the same corner are included in the bridge, and if they are subjected to forces that produce different piezoresistive effects because they are disposed along different crystallographic directions, the current between the two remaining corners will be increased for the same pressure. If the same arrangement is provided for the remaining two elements connected at the other corner to which the pulse is applied, the imbalance of the bridge will be even greater for the same pressure on the diaphragm. So, to make up a bridge, two PZR elements parallel to the 110 direction are selected to be connected opposite each other in the bridge, and two PZR elements parallel to the 110 direction are connected to fill in the remaining sides that are opposite to each other.
Each piezoresistive element is typically about 5K ohms. Because a Wheatstone bridge is sensitive to any imbalance in the bridge, it is recognized that there may be some static imbalances. To minimize that, each element along any one crystallographic direction may be selected from the group of adjacent elements that most closely matches other elements to be used in a bridge. There is no penalty in providing extra elements for this selection, since producing as many elements as will conveniently fit parallel to the crystallographic axes is no more costly than producing one element. Each element is provided with two connector pads, one on each end, with the pads positioned over rigid portions of the chip just off the diaphragms shown in cross section in FIG. 3.
Referring to FIG. 3, the semiconductor chip 25 (with the DP and SP Wheatstone bridges on the flat top) is hermetically bonded to a silicon plate 32 using a Pyrex glass film. This leaves an annular space beneath the diaphragm 28 in which a reference pressure, such as atmospheric pressure at sea level, can be sealed if bonding is done at that pressure. Note that the SP diaphragm 28 is much thicker than the DP diaphragm 26. Greater rigidity is desired for the SP piezoresistive elements for the obvious reason that it will be subjected to greater bending pressure. The DP diaphragm 26 can be, and should be, thinner because it will receive fluid pressure on both sides with only a small pressure differential available to bend it. The DP diaphragm should also have greater span across which bending may occur, thus subjecting the PZR elements to greater bending stress or strain for the same pressure differential.
A Pyrex glass tube 33 is bonded to the silicon plate 32 around an orifice 34 into the DP diaphragm cavity. The high pressure fluid upstream is coupled to this tube 33 from the pipe 10 (FIG. 1), while the low downstream pressure fluid is coupled to the space over the DP and SP diaphragms. This may be accomplished by providing a housing 35 hermetically sealed around the silicon plate, with an inlet passage 36 that may be connected to the tube 10 downstream from the orifice plate 11.
It is preferable to etch multiple sets of DP diaphragms on a single chip, each of different dimensions (thickness and/or diameter), as shown in FIG. 4, where each of the circles 41, 42, 43 and 44 represents the diameters of four DP diaphragms. Besides having a bridge for each diaphragm connected to pulsed signal buses 45 and 46, there is an integrated circuit means (MUX) 47 for selecting the DP bridge to be read out. Each DP bridge circuit thus has two output terminals connected by conductors to the MUX. These conductors, as well as those to make the bridge connections between elements, are produced on the surface of the chip using the well known photolithographic masking and metallizing techniques known in the art of manufacturing integrated circuits. The MUX also has two output connections for reading out the measurement signal from a selected DP diaphragm bridge, and two input connections for a two-bit word to select the DP diaphragm to be read out. One of the DP diaphragms is provided with an annular SP diaphragm represented by a circle 48 in FIG. 4 for reading the static pressure. One SP diaphragm is normally sufficient for all ranges of differential pressure, since static pressure is not expected to vary over a wide range while the differential pressure may, and even where the differential pressure is not expected to vary over a wide range, it may be desirable to select a more sensitive (larger diameter and/or thinner) diaphragm for greater sensitivity in differential pressure measurements. It would, of course, be possible to also provide SP diaphragms of different dimensions for different ranges, in which case a second MUX would be provided like the MUX 47 to select SP outputs, but in the usual installation, only one SP diaphragm would be provided around one DP diaphragm as illustrated in FIG. 4 for the DP diaphragm 41.
FIG. 5 illustrates four DP transducer bridges DP1 through DP4 on the disk diaphragms 41, 42, 43 and 44 of FIG. 4 connected to the multiplexer 47 which receives two input (address) signals, and provides a DP output signal from the selected DP bridge. A pulsed signal is applied over buses 45 and 46 to the bridges in parallel, including the SP bridge on the annular diaphragm 48, to periodically activate all of them. However, only the selected DP and the single SP bridges will produce output pulses at respective DP and SP output terminals. The amplitudes of these pulses will be proportional to the DP and SP measurements.
Although particular embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated herein, it is recognized that modifications and variations may readily occur to those skilled in the art. Consequently, it is intended that the claims be interpreted to cover such modifications and variations.
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|U.S. Classification||73/721, 338/4|
|International Classification||G01L9/00, G01L9/06, G01L19/00|
|Cooperative Classification||G01L15/00, G01L19/0092, G01L9/0054, G01L9/065|
|European Classification||G01L19/00S, G01L9/06, G01L9/00D2B2|
|Jul 2, 1984||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ITT CORPORATION, 320 PARK AVE., NEW YORK, NY A DE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:SINGH, GURNAM;REEL/FRAME:004281/0542
Effective date: 19840628
|Jul 2, 1984||AS02||Assignment of assignor's interest|
|Aug 1, 1988||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jul 18, 1993||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Oct 5, 1993||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 19930718